How To Take Care of Doc Martens? Ultimate Caring Guide

Are you upset that you can’t take proper care of your favorite Doc Martens? 

Or is it fading day by day? 

In that case, you have to know the ultimate way to care for your Docs. 

So how to take care of doc martens? 

First, keep your Doc Martens clean following proper maintenance, including cleaning the shoelaces, soles, and leather. After that, apply leather conditioner according to leather type and polish the Docs to shine up. Lastly, give the Docs finishing touch with the protector spray and freshener.  

Sounds difficult? Not at all. Yes! We can bring your Docs back in tip-top state. Just need to grab a broader idea for the perfect job.

Why late? Let’s get to work together! 

How To Take Care of Doc Martens

How to Take Care of Doc Martens

Your Doc Martens must be precious for you, and you never want them to lose too early. That’s why taking care of your Doc is the ultimate way to boost your boot’s life and keep them always new.

Though it takes patience and time for routine maintenance, we’ve got a way to make things easier. Here’s all the cleaning procedures.

How To Clean Doc Martens

Cleaning your Doc Martens is not as troublesome as you think. It only takes a few minutes and some attentiveness with patience. However, the cleaning process can be done with or without kits. So if you don’t have shoe care kits right now but can’t wait to start the approach, here we are.

How to Clean Doc Martens Without Kit

Yes, you can clean your doc Martin with some everyday cleaners and tools that you have at your home. And using these things help you to avoid buying shoe care kits and save your pocket.  However, you have to go in a step by step process to clean the docs from scratch to advance. Here we’ll disclose every step with proper infrastructure. So just read in and follow

Step 1: Cleaning the soles

Before cleaning the shoe leather, start with cleaning your shoe soles. It’ll ensure the dirt and dust won’t stick to the upper leather afterward.

Items You Need 

  • A small bucket or bowl
  • Warm water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Toothbrush, dishwashing brush, or shoe brush
  • Clean damp cloth or rag

What to Do

  • Bang your boots together a few times to shake off the excess mud and dust of the shoe
  • Fill half of the bucket or bowl with warm water 
  • Add a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap into it and mix them.
  • Dip an unused toothbrush, shoe brush, or dishwashing brush in the soapy water
  • Now using the brush scrub the soles of your shoes thoroughly to remove dirt, grime, dust, stuck pebbles, and mud.
  • If the soles are done cleaning,  wipe them with a clean damp cloth.
Cleaning the shoelaces
Cleaning the shoelaces

Step 2: Remove & Clean the shoelaces

Removing the shoelaces help you in two ways. First, you’ll get access to the shoe interior quickly. Secondly, shoelaces can be cleaned separately and perfectly.

If you like to wash the laces themselves, stick them in the washing machine. Otherwise, for a manual preference, go through the following process.

Items You Need

  • A small bowl
  • Warm water
  • Toothbrush
  • Dishwashing liquid

What You Do

  • Remove the laces off your boots or shoes.
  • Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid and mild detergent with warm water
  • Soak and swirl the lace around the soapy water 
  • If the laces are pretty dirty, give them a scrub with a toothbrush
  • Rinse them in the clean water and hang on to air dry 

Step 3: Cleaning the upper leather

All Doc Martens won’t be made with the same leather. So first you have to know your boot’s leather types and according to the leather types you should clean it.

What You Need

  • Old nail brush or shoe brush
  • A few clean and soft cloth
  • Leather cleaner

What to Do

  • Use a shoe or nail brush to brush off the dried mud, dust, or dirt from your Docs upper.
  • Make sure to clean all the hard-to-reach areas of stitching, the eyelets for the laces, and the tongues of your footwear.
  • Once you finish dry cleaning, now wash the shoe with leather cleaner. Take a tiny amount of Bick 1 leather cleaner on a boot brush or a cloth.
  • Gently rub the brush in a circular motion around the shoe.
  • Until there is a light foam all over the shoe, continue to work it.
  • Lastly, wipe the soap with a clean damp cloth and let it air dry in a sunny place. Don’t use any dryer as the heat can melt the glue and damage your Doc Martens. 

Step 4: Apply A Leather Conditioner

As leather was the skin of a living animal, it usually dried out the leather moisture after every wash. With that, the leather leads to crack and lose durability. It’s just similar to how our hands dry out after washing. So like human skin, your boot’s leather also needs a condition to preserve its moisture and softness.

Apply Leather Conditioner
Image Credit: YT/In the Wander Years

What You Need

  • Leather conditioner such as lemon essential oil, Mink oil 
  • A soft cloth or sponge 

What To Do

  • Take your favorite leather conditioner on a soft cloth or sponge. 
  • Rub the sponge or cloth around your boots in a circular motion. Make sure to cover all hard-to-reach areas evenly.
  • Wipe the shoes if there any excess conditioner is visible.
  • Let the Docs dry for the next 20-30 minutes.
  • Go for polishing when you’re finished.

Step 5: Polish Your Docs 

Dr. Martens only recommends polish on smooth leather products. Before you polish, try to find a suitable polish that fits your boots. If you don’t understand, neutral polish is the better choice, especially with multicolored Docs.

shoe polishing
Shoe Polishing

What You Need

  • Shoe Polish
  • Newspaper
  • A cloth

What You Do

  • Find a wax shoe polish that matches the color of your Doc Martens boots.
  • Put some newspaper on the ground where you decide to polish the shoe. Because you don’t like to be left unwanted black marks on the surface.
  • Wipe the polish with a clean cloth in a circular motion. This approach will warm and soften the wax polish for easy application. 
  • Once the cloth has some polish, make a thin layer over the boot and make a firm pressure so that the polish gets into the leather pores effectively.
  • If you never polished your Doc for a long time, then consider re-applying and focusing on the areas with marks and scuffs. 
  • Remove off the excess polish and leave the shoe stand for 10-20 minutes. 

Step 6: Buff Your Doc Martens 

If you want to give your Doc Martens a rejuvenate and brilliant shine, buffing the shoe is the best way. 

What You Need

  • A  bristle brush or shoe brush

What You Need to Do

  • Grab a shoe or bristle brush and start buffing  and polishing the Doc Martens.
  • Once finishing buffing, take a lint-free cloth and wipe over your shoes or boots to remove extra polish or dust. 

Step 7: Shine The Docs

Shining the Docs brings life to your Docs and helps them achieve a new, eye-catching look.

What You Need

  • A piece of clean Nylon

What to Do

To shine up your Docs more, rub the boot’s leather with a piece of Nylon that removes dust and gives the extra leather polish.

How to clean doc Martin with kits

Till now you have known the guidelines for cleaning your boots without kits. But, if your boots are extremely dirty, you must need shoe care kits to clean them. So let’s have a close look at some of the doc Martens shoe care kits to clean them. 

Applying Leather Conditioner On Different Leather

No doubt, leather conditioner helps to extend your Docs life. But the same conditioner will not work for all leathers. So choosing the right conditioner according to the leather profile of your specific boots makes sense. 

  1. Smooth Leather

Smooth leather has classic and shiny materials. So to keep it shiny, you need a conditioner that can restore its natural oil along with making your Docs long-lasting. 

For smooth leather, you can use Bick 4 leather conditioner. It’s not a wax-based conditioner, and that’s why it will make the leather more soft and breathable. Otherwise, it’s neutral in every kind of shade and color of Doc Martens.

Bick 4 Leather conditioner

Apply this conditioner following the steps here. 

  • Apply enough conditioner all over the boots
  • Let it dry out for 20 minutes in a sunny place
  • Afterward, buff your boot to remove the excess conditioner.
  1. Nappa and Virginia Leather

Nappa and Virginia’s leather is designed to mold in your feet from the first wear. They’re made from soft, fine-grain leather, so a wax-based leather conditioner is most suitable to keep them more soft and supple.

Apply the leather conditioner on the boots in a liberal coat. Make sure you evenly condition the hard-to-reach areas also.

  1. Crazy Horse Leather

Crazy horse leather or oiled leather has been treated after tanning. So it makes the leather more water-resistant.

Boot Mink Oil
Boot Mink Oil

Mink-oil is the ideal leather conditioner for crazy-horse lather, nourishing it and reinforcing the waterproof exterior. To use Mink oil conditions follow the process.

  • Pour a small amount of mink oil onto a clean cloth and apply it to the leather in a circular motion. 
  • Let the oil absorb into leather and dry for 5-10 minutes
  • Lastly, polish with a dry cloth

Cleaning Stubborn Common Stains

If you’re the person who works in a restaurant or a muddy area for a long shift or didn’t clean the shoes after years, then the Docs inevitably encounter stubborn stains or scuffs. 

So the basic cleaning won’t work in this case; instead, you need some extra effort. Here we explore some simple ways to get rid of some common stains from your boots.

For Scuffs

  1. Apply some coat of non-gel toothpaste over the scuffed areas 
  2. Take a shoe brush or cloth and rub on the area
  3. Wipe the toothpaste with a clean, dry cloth
  4. Apply some rubbing alcohol or nail polish to blot the stain on the scuff. Don’t rub it.
  5. Clean the area with a damp cloth and let it dry.

For Oil and Grease

  • Put some baking soda or cornstarch on a cloth and apply it to the stain. 
  • Leave the paste overnight so that the boot can absorb it properly
  • The following day, using a cloth, wipe off the powder and clean the stained area

Miscellaneous Stains

  • Put lemon juice and tartar cream equally in a mixing bowl and mix them well.
  • Apply  a layer of the mixture on the stained area 
  • Leave it for 30 minutes to set and dry
  • Using a damp cloth, wipe off the mixture

Handy Tips: This method is only applicable to light-colored boots because the mixture can bleach the Docs.

How To Clean Suede Doc Martens 

Suede is a kind of soft leather that gives the boots a luxurious finish. That said, it is not as hard-wearing as full-grain leather, so its cleaning process should be more careful.

What You Need

  • Suede Brush
  • Suede Eraser

What You Do

  • Brush your Suede Docs regularly to remove the dust and dirt and raise the nap. Brushing your Suede Docs regularly helps to look smooth.
  • If the boots don’t even clean after brushing, pick some specialized cleaner to apply on the Docks after brushing. Before you apply the cleaner, do a patch test for colorfastness.
  • Use an eraser or a suede block like a pencil eraser to remove the stain or marks from your Suede boots. Simply rub the eraser onto the marks until it removed

Quick Tips: Remember, brushing your suede Docs more regularly makes sure to preserve its soft nap and long-lasting life. Also, protect from water and marks consider waterproofing.

What Items Contain In Dr. Martens Shoe Care Kit?

Doc Martens Shoe Care Kit

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Dr. Martens Shoe Care Kit contains the following items:

  1. Wonder Balsam(50ml)
  2. Dubbin Wax
  3. Neutral Shoe Polish (50ml)
  4. Buffing Cloth
  5. Shoelaces

Preparation Before Using Doc Martens 

Before you open the shoe care kit, make ready your docs. 

  • Remove your shoelaces first and clean them separately on the washing machine or with soapy water.
  • Now, bang the boots together to remove excess mud and dust.
  • Grab a bowl of warm water and run a microfiber cloth into the bowl.
  • Squeeze the excess water and start wiping the dirt and dust from the upper leather of the shoe to the outer sole. 
  • Once your boots are cleaned, dry off them by wiping some dry clothes. Or let them air dry.

How To Use Dr. Marten Shoe Care Kits?

As you know, the doc Martin shoe care kit bundle contains 5 essential products that you must use in an order. Here’s the steps to use them.

Step 1: Apply wonder balsam

Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam is a smooth blend of synthetic and natural waxes to condition, nourish and protect the boot leather.

  1. Open the Wonder Balsam tub and take the sponge out.
  2. Next, scoop out some wax using the sponge.
  3. Take a couple of swipes of the sponge and apply in a circular motion throughout the boot. 
  4. Cover all areas, including the tongue, creases, and inside leather. Make sure to work on the seams. 
  5. Once you coat the boot in an even layer, rest it dry after 10 minutes.

Quick Tips: If your Docs have scuffs, stains, and scratches, use a double layer of Wonder Balsam Wax to minimize their visibility. 

Warning: As Wonder Balsam contains beeswax, it’s not suitable for use on Vegan Docs.

How to use wonder balsam on docs

Step 2: Use Dubbin

Dubbin is a natural wax that creates a water-resistant coating on the leather. Dubbin wax is perfect for waxed and oiled leathers. It keeps the oily, greasy, and waxy leathers soft and preserved.

Scoop up some dubbin using a sponge or a clean cloth. It comes with a pomade consistency. Apply the dubbin all over your boots. Once you finish, wait until the dubbin becomes dry.

How to use dubbin on doc martens

Step 3: Use Shoe Polish

Doc Shoe polish protects the leather against rains and stains, giving the boots a shiny look. 

Grab a dry cloth and scoop some polish out on it. Apply a thin layer up and around the boot. Take care of the tongue also. For hiding scuffs, marks, and scratches, make sure to apply the polish in an even coating. You can apply multiple coatings as you want, but only after the first coating becomes dry. 

Step 4: Buff to Shine

If you want to give your Docs an intense natural shine, take your shoe brush and start buffing. Afterward, let the pair of Docs dry for 5-10 minutes and replace them again. Otherwise, you can knock out your old lace and bring a new one to give your Docs a new look, new life! 

Step 5: Gives Your Docs A Final Touch

Dr Martens Shoe Care Kit
dr martens ultra protector spray

Your cleaning process will remain incomplete with a well-finishing touch. So here comes Dr. Martens Ultra Protector Spray to protect your brushed-up boots for long life. Otherwise, fill your Docs with a fresh smell with just a squirt of Dr. Martens Shoe Freshener. 

What Is The Difference Between Doc Martens Wonder Balsam And Doc Martens Dubbin?

The main difference between Doc Martens Wonder Balsam And Doc Martens Dubbin is their utility. Wonder Balsam softens the leather, especially when you break your docs in pairs. It’s used explicitly for smooth leathers, whereas dubbin is primarily helpful for oiled leather. Besides, it adds shine to your boots to give them a shiny new look. 

How to Make Doc Martens to Smell better

Those who sweat excessively must get in trouble daily for an unpleasant smell coming from the boots. Otherwise, as Docs doesn’t offer much ventilation, it increases the chance of creating a foul odor. Even if you wash the boots regularly, the smell is still there. So we bring some practical ways to keep your boots refreshing smell.

  • If you’ve a cat, you must have cat litter. Mix some glitter and baking soda in your old socks. Put one sock in each of your Docs. And let them work overnight.
  • If you’ve tea tree oil, it’s a fantastic element to remove foul odor. Just sprinkle some baking soda on a cotton ball and add a few drops of tea tree oil. Place the balls in your boots overnight.
  • Pour some rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and lightly spray in each of your boots. Antiseptics such as rubbing alcohol helps to kill odor-causing bacteria in the Docs.
  • Salt is a fantastic ingredient to eliminate the moisture inside your boots that odor-causing bacterias feed off. Take 2 teaspoons of salt and sprinkle it on the boots. Let it sit for two hours. 
  • Orange or lemon peels eliminate foul odor by adding a natural smell. Take some spare orange or lemon peels and put them in your boots overnight. Next morning, you’ll get a clean and bright smell from your boot.

Faq’s Regarding How to take care of Doc Martens

How Do I Clean My Vegan Doc Martens?

Clean your Vegan Doc Martens with a damp cloth. If the dirt is quite stubborn, you can also use light soapy water. Afterward, wipe off the shoe with a dry cloth very well.
Don’t leave your Vegan docs in wet condition or never let them dry in a sunny place directly. So wiping with a dry cloth is a better idea.

How To Keep Doc Martens Looking New?

When you take proper care of your Doc martens, certainly it will look new over the years. Taking care means proper cleaning, conditioning, and polishing regularly. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Docs?

It would be best if you cleaned your Docs every three months to make sure of their most extended life. If you can do it more often, that’s good.

How do I store my Doc Martens?

To store your Doc Martens, simply place them in a cool, dry place. Do not put them in direct sunlight as this could fade the leather.

How often should I polish my Doc Martens?

You should polish your Doc Martens every few weeks, using a specialized leather polish. Apply the polish evenly, using a soft cloth.


Now you know how to take care of Doc Martens. We hope you’ve got the whole idea about your concern. 

Follow every instruction carefully, and you’ll be good to go. So why are you waiting? Start taking care of your Docs onwards and enjoy your favorite boots more in every step.

Best of luck!

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